Welcome to Family Law Cairns

Important issues in Family Law for the Cairns Community. Articles contributed by: Stephen Roberts, Principal Solicitor, Roberts Lawyers, Cairns.

If you wish to follow up any articles or seek legal advice the contact details for Roberts Lawyers are as follows:

Phone ; (07) 4052 7514

Email; info@robertslawyers.com.au .


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Organising Care Arrangements for Children

Disputes regarding children following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship can be upsetting for all parties not least the children. In my experience the most lengthy and emotionally challenging child disputes are situations where there is a sudden separation without any proper discussion as to the future care of the children. Unfortunately this is sometimes a necessary process and where there are issues of domestic violence this may be the only practical option.

If possible it makes good sense for separating couples to sit down and discuss reasonably the arrangements for the care of the children before separation. Otherwise it is sensible to enter into mediation as soon as possible following separation so that some certainty can be established at an early stage. This can assist in minimising conflict. The current law requires that parties attempt to mediate prior to commencing court proceedings relating to child issues – except where domestic violence exists or there is some urgency.

I find that new clients are often interested in the idea of a “shared care” or “equal time” arrangement. It is fair to say that the Family Law landscape shifted substantially with changes enacted in 2006, with greater emphasis being placed on the concept of an equal time arrangement. Sometimes this can be an excellent solution for all parties. However there are circumstances when these types of arrangement will not be appropriate where significant domestic violence exists or where such an arrangement will not work in practice.
Therefore when contemplating an equal time arrangement consider whether the children spending equal time with each parent is in their best interests and look at the following factors:

· Proximity of the parents’ homes
· Working arrangements of the parents
· Relationship shared by the children and each parent
· Children’s relationship with other siblings

If it is not in the best interests of the children to spend equal time with each parent, consider whether should they spend a significant amount of time with the other parent. This should ideally include week-day and week-end time as well as holiday time to enable the other parent to be involved in all aspects of the child’s life if possible.

These are all issues that can be discussed with your legal advisor who can explain the benefits of entering into either a parenting plan or alternatively more formal consent orders.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Property Settlements in De Facto Relationships

If you have recently separated from your De Facto partner then you may be interested to learn a few hints about property matters.

Until as recently as last year De Facto relationships were treated differently to marriages as far as property is concerned. That changed with amending laws which came into force on 1st March 2009. The changes had the effect in general terms of putting De facto relationships on the same footing as married property settlements.

The new law has certain advantages for De facto couples as follows:

1 There is greater certainty as to what factors apply in working out what each party may be entitled to.

2 The issues of children and property can be dealt with in one court rather than two separate courts.

3 Superannuation can brought into the equation.

4 The Family Court is well set up to deal with and handle family matters in terms of personnel and facilities.

It should be mentioned that the new law only applies to relationships that broke down from 1st March 2009.

For a relationship to qualify as a De Facto relationship within the definition of the legislation certain criteria need to be fullfilled. If you are considering making a claim for a De Facto property settlement your Solicitor will be able to assess whether the relationship qualifies.

There are also certain important time limits which need to be complied with. Therefore if you consider that you may be entitled to a property division then seeking advice at an early stage is important.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Family Law Cairns

Family Law Cairns is a legal website created by Stephen Roberts - Principal of Roberts Lawyers, Cairns. The aim of the site is to provide an overview of important issues in Family Law, with a particular emphasis on the types of problems typically encountered by the Cairns community. Topics may include child related issues, property settlements and financial agreements. Roberts Lawyers provides expert advice in Family Law with a particular emphasis on Children and Property matters. If you would like to follow up any of the topics posted on this site or seek legal advice please call 4052 7514 or email:


For further information about Roberts Lawyers, the website of Roberts Lawyers is:


Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and we hope that you find the articles informative.

Relocating with children

Relocation is a difficult issue in Family Law and a very hot topic here in North Queensland. Cairns is a fairly transient city and we often receive enquiries from clients who wish to move to another part of the state or indeed move to another state.

The reality is that there are no "hard and fast" rules when it comes to the Family Courts making decisions in these type of cases. Each case is decided upon its individual facts.

A significant development was the amendments to the Family Law Act which were introduced in 2006. The emphasis that the amendments gave to shared parenting have changed the landscape somewhat.

It is now more difficult to persuade the Family Court to allow relocation since one of the main objects of the current Law is that a child is entitled to have a significant and meaningful relationship with both parents (unless there is the existence of family violence). It is of course possible for a child to enjoy a relationship of sorts with a parent from distance and technology such as webcams can assist. However the onus is certainly very much on the parent wishing to relocate to establish that the arrangments proposed will facilitate a substantial and meaningful relationship with the other parent.

In these circumstances it is not usually a good idea to simply relocate with a child without any consultation with the other parent. This often leads to the issue of an application for a recovery order which can have catastrophic effects on all parties, not least the child.

A parent who wishes to relocate needs to fulfill certain criteria. It is often a sensible idea to seek early legal advice so that a strategy can be worked out and perhaps negotiations with the other parent be entered into. It may well be that the lawyer advises against the relocation or advice may be given which ultimately leads to a stress free relocation. Either way relocation with a child is not something than should be considered without very carefully weighing up all the consequences.